Court Lifts Limits on Alternate Jurors in Civil Trials

November 29, 2016

The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure have been amended by the Florida Supreme Court to remove the limit on the number of alternate jurors in civil trials. Effective January 1, 2017, Rule 1.431 has been amended to read “The court may direct that 1 or more jurors be impaneled to sit as alternate jurors in addition to the regular panel.” Currently the rule imposes a limit of two alternate jurors in a civil case. See, In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, 199 So.3d 867 (Fla. 2016). This brings rule 1.431 into conformity with the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure which do not have a limit on the number of alternate jurors in a criminal trial. See, Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.280.

In addition, the amendment to Rule 1.431 provides that when a party believes that grounds exist for a post-trial legal challenge to a jury’s verdict in a civil case, the time to file a motion to interview a member of the jury to investigate any potential improprieties is increased from 10 to 15 days.